Moot Court wins States

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Junior Kaitlin Cruz and senior Camila Otero worked together to win Moot Court States this year. Cruz’s first competition was this year and Otero has been participating since her sophomore year. (Photos/Kaitlin Cruz, Camila Otero)

Moot Court is an extracurricular event relating to law that allows students to experience what it would be like to participate in a real Supreme Court hearing. The competition has to do with constitutional law: first, competitors receive a role, petitioner or respondent, and one of two issues. From provided information, students must study the case and all the laws that relate to it, then come up with briefs and oral arguments. The students have direct training from their coaches, as they help finalize briefs and assist in their oral arguments. 

The Moot Court competition takes place every Spring. This year’s competition issues were coerced confessions and a hearsay objection. Due to COVID-19,  junior Kaitlin Cruz and senior Camila Otero participated in the virtual competition in April. They worked together to address both issues, Otero the hearsay objection and Cruz coerced confessions. To win, competitors pass through rounds. The first round is at the District Court level in front of justices. The team with the best brief and oral arguments advances to the second round. Otero and Cruz won their first round, advancing to the final round, where the pair beat Lincoln High School to win first place. 

Students start preparing for the competition in January and practice Fridays and Saturdays every week until April. “I learned about so many legal topics in depth and was able to improve my public speaking skills significantly,” Otero said. 

As the competition is usually conducted in person, under the circumstances, virtual accommodations were made. “Thanks to the dedication of our coaches, we were able to prepare properly and effectively for our virtual competition,” Cruz said. 

Both students find Moot Court an “enriching experience” that allows them to continue to grow as writers as well as public speakers. The next Moot Court competition is scheduled for Spring 2021.

Nithisha, a sophomore at American Heritage, is starting her first year on newspaper staff. Besides writing and reading, Nithisha enjoys many artistic hobbies, like painting, sewing and crocheting. She spends most of her time either studying, pursuing one of her hobbies or watching "Gilmore Girls." A total book nerd, she tries to read as often and as many books as possible.

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